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3 common workplace hazards for janitors

Custodial jobs may look simple to others, but injuries are fairly common for janitors and building cleaners. There are various safety hazards and repetitive motions that can result in mild to severe injuries. If you are in a custodial occupation, you know that it can be hard – and sometimes dangerous – work.

Your job duties and equipment make you susceptible to certain injuries on the job. Here are three of the most common types of janitorial injuries, with information from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service.

1. Slips, trips and falls

One common hazard you face as a custodian worker is slipping on a wet floor or tripping on an object. These incidents can result in a fall. Falling is a typical cause of a variety of injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries and sprains. Wet surfaces, occasional spills, improper footwear, obstructed views and uneven surfaces all contribute to this hazard.

2. Repetitive motions and overexertion

As a janitor, you perform a lot of repetitive activities, including:

  • Carrying buckets
  • Sweeping or mopping
  • Moving barrels
  • Lifting garbage

The cumulative effect of these motions or a single, sudden motion outside your usual range can result in musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains and strains. If you have trouble with repetitive motions, you should talk to your employer about taking regular breaks and developing ergonomic solutions.

3. Chemical hazards

You deal with various chemicals throughout your cleaning duties. Cleaning products often contain harmful solvents that can cause health problems. Some health effects of exposure to these chemicals include:

  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Asthma
  • Rashes
  • Heart and kidney problems
  • Cancer

Your employer must inform you whenever hazardous chemicals are present and train you on safe handling of chemicals.

These are just some of the common ways you can get injured during your custodial work. If your employer properly trains you and implements the right safety measures, you can stay safer and reduce the risk of injury.